Each Friday we compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of May 13:
1. The strange case of school lunch hacking
When you think about hacking, I doubt school lunch is anything that ever comes to mind. But according to Vice and the San Francisco Chronicle, that’s exactly what’s happened. According to the paper, the FBI has spent a year investigating the chief financial officer of Choicelunch, a company that provides meals to students in the Bay Area. The CFO, Keith Wesley Cosbey, is accused of hacking into the website of a competitor, LunchMaster, to obtain information on clients, including meal preferences, allergies and even students’ grades. The FBI says Cosbey then sent that information anonymously to the Department of Education (DEO), saying LunchMaster wasn’t adequately protecting students’ privacy, according to the paper. The DEO reached out to LunchMaster, which started an internal investigation that led to an IP address located in Danville, Calif., where Choicelunch is headquartered. Vice reports that Cosbey is out on bond and his court date is set for May 22.
2. College could ax café; turn to micro market
The Umpqua Community College in Oregon is looking into an option that would get rid of the cafeteria and turn foodservice options to a micro market. The college has already decided to eliminate catering from the dining department. If the proposal to cut the cafeteria is enacted, an outside vendor would operate a micro market in the book store. The moves are coming as the cafeteria has run a deficit for seven of the past nine years.
3. Child nutrition training bill introduced in Congress
A couple of years back in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, child nutrition professionals were required to have a certain amount of training each year. Two members of Congress have now introduced the Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act to ensure that that training is conducted during work hours, and if that training cannot be done during work hours, that employees are notified in advance and compensated. In addition, those workers who cannot attend training conducted outside work hours would not be penalized.
4. Plant-based “chicken” nuggets coming to schools
Plant-based is definitely a hot trend right now. Chicken nuggets are a staple menu item in school cafeterias. Now, the two are meeting, with the introduction of a plant-based chicken nugget and breaded chicken patty option from Don Lee Farms. The items are expected to be available prior to the 2019-2020 school year.
5. College bathrooms to become gender-inclusive
Bathrooms in the South Campus dining hall at the University of Maryland will become gender-inclusive this summer. In addition, a wheelchair lift will be added. Dining’s Bart Hipple said the moves are being made to “reduce people being marginalized while within our facilities.”